"Originally launched in 1999, it's a testament to the design and engineering that the Audi TT is still the ‘must have’ small coupe. It's as good to drive as it is to look at!"
The Audi TT is a beautiful piece of design, and it drives very well, too. Available as a coupe or a convertible, Audi's small sports car is not the most practical around, but few machines match its blend of prestige, quality and comfort. Equipped with Audi's 2.0 TDI diesel engine, it's also relatively cheap to run. At the other end of the scale, the range-topping TT RS offers supercar-matching performance.
With its low-slung driving position and accurate, responsive steering, the Audi TT even makes mundane day-to-day trips exciting. All but the least expensive versions get quattro four-wheel drive. A clever twin-clutch automatic gearbox is optional, which offers quick and smooth gear changes, but doesn’t eat into fuel economy. The TT RS Plus is the most powerful, its supercar acceleration making it exhilarating to drive. What's most memorable about the TT driving experience, though, is the feeling of being cocooned in a first-rate cabin.
Just because the TT is a sports car, that doesn’t mean it's uncomfortable. The TT is a refined, relaxing car to drive. Sporty S line, TT S and TT RS versions, with their bigger wheels, can feel unsettled and shaky over rough surfaces at low speeds, however. Buyers can specify Audi's Magnetic Ride adaptive suspension system. This swaps between a more comfortable, softer-feeling ride and a firmer one at the press of a button, and works well.
There are no major reliability problems reported with the TT, as with any Audi, and it placed 27th out of 100 in the reliability section of the 2010 Driver Power survey. The TT has been subject to three official VOSA recalls, the first of which affected cars built in 1998, and the most recent, cars produced in 2009. Each recall affected relatively few cars – but did involve concerns over stability and braking performance.
The boot is accessed by a usefully large hatchback opening, but the boot itself is shallow, and the rear seats offer virtually no leg or headroom for adults. They do split and fold, though, which creates a handy 700 litres of luggage space. Up front, the TT's cabin is surprisingly roomy for two.
Value for money
The Audi TT is a value for money car, but it isn’t cheap. It's a sports car to aspire to, so equipment levels reflect that, with all versions offering part-leather upholstery, alloy wheels, sports seats, and a powerful nine-speaker stereo. Popular S line trim adds bigger wheels and aluminium cabin detailing, although satellite-navigation is still an expensive option, as is the adaptive suspension. It can all add up, but the TT's popularity and quality mean resale values are among the best of any new car.
The sensible choice is the 168bhp 2.0 TDI diesel, which is quick but returns 53.3mpg and has emissions of 139g/km, which means Road Tax is cheap (£110). Even the brilliant entry-level 1.8 TFSI petrol engine, which can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds, is capable of 44.1mpg. Low mileage users may prefer that version. Avoid the TT S and TT RS models if running costs are anything of an issue.